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21 May 2021, 13:13
Kerstine Appunn

Majority of German consumers want supply chain law that protects the environment

Clean Energy Wire

A majority of consumers would like to see a strong supply chain law implemented in Germany including rules on the environmental conduct of textile companies, a survey by Kantar, commissioned by consumer organisation VZBV, found. Eighty-four percent of participants agreed that German textile companies should be obliged to avoid environmental damage during production abroad. However, the Supply Chain Act, which was originally scheduled for a vote in parliament this week, does not currently include a separate environmental due diligence obligation, the VZBV said in a press release. After having postponed the vote on the current draft law at the request of the conservative CDU/CSU parliamentary group, it’s still not clear whether a decision will be possible before the general elections in autumn, the organisation said. According to Ralph Brinkhaus, leader of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, the current problem is the exclusion of additional civil-law liability for companies, the Neue Westfälische reports. The economic wing of the CDU/CSU fears numerous lawsuits against domestic companies.

The supply chain law is a long-delayed project of Angela Merkel’s grand coalition between the Social Democrats (SPD) and her own conservative party. After months of internal dispute, the cabinet agreed on a draft law in February 2021. Large companies that rely on imported resources and workers in source countries, ranging from coffee traders to e-carmakers, will have to ensure compliance with human rights standards by their suppliers or face fines and exclusion from public projects. Civil society groups have welcomed the proposed law as an important step towards more sustainable supply chains but criticised the fact environmental aspects were largely excluded from the agreement.

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